College Ave In-Street Rail: Exploring the Feasibility…

A lot of the recent controversy here at Urban Indy has revolved around the unannounced road diet that Indy seems to have went on this year. During this construction season alone, a lane has been wiped clean and converted to biking facilities along 46th street, 62nd/Broad Ripple Ave, Shelby St & Madison Ave, Washington Street downtown, Capitol Ave and Virginia Ave; and those are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. In most cases bike lanes were striped along existing roadways and in the case of Shelby Street, a separated bike track was constructed.

Thinking about the displacement of cars in Indy and the potential controversy involved, I thought back to a prior topic and popular topic that we debate here and that is the idea of light rail from Broad Ripple to Downtown. I know that I am not the only one who has looked at this route and in fact, I can tell you that at the highest transit planning level, it has been looked at and debated; although I suspect nothing will come to fruition in the near term nor when Indyconnect goes to the statehouse to convince lawmakers to allow a referendum for transit funding. However, that can’t stop some of us from daydreaming about it.

Perhaps the most difficult portion of such a route would be College Ave between 38th street and Broad Ripple Village. I say this with the assumption that any line built would likely travel along existing streets since there are no real empty corridors to put a rail line in that doesn’t involve mass destruction of homes or existing biking & pedestrian facilities (Monon Trail) to make it happen. Broad Ripple Ave would be difficult as well and presents a real opportunity to be innovative with the design of such a route. Preserving the old auto-culture of the area and promoting the transit-based design of the village is a real challenge. This post will not tackle the village portion but instead, the College Ave portion of a supposed route.